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July 14, 2010

Amarnath pilgrimage helps shopkeepers in Jammu and Kashmir

Sonmarg:The annual Amarnath pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir has helped vendors and shopkeepers in the region, who are making good profits by selling Hindu religious items. Religious items like Rudraksh (holy beads), Tulsi (holy basil), and Chandan (sandalwood) bead chains are in great demand. On an average, a vendor can earn upto Rs 400 to1500 in a day, which is markedly higher than usual. "Rudraksh (holy beads) chain is in demand, Tulsi (holy basil), Chandan (sandalwood) bead chains are also purchased by pilgrims. The work is going on well. In a day, we sell items of up to Rs 400, 1,000, 1,500. As pilgrimage journey has started, the sales will also rise," said Vijay, a vendor. Devotees buy these items for prayers and as a souvenir for their friends and family back home. "We purchase Prasad (religious offering), and Jammu and Kashmir's woolen clothes like socks, boots etc. Pilgrims purchase religious beads with enthusiasm. When pilgrims go back to their homes, they give these items as prasad to their neighbors," said Satish Kumar, a pilgrim. The first batch of devotees left for the holy cave shrine on July 1. The pilgrimage will conclude on August 25, which happens to be the day of Raksha Bandhan, the festival in which siblings reaffirm their devotion for each other.

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